Local Libations

Here Are the Wines and Wine Shops Keeping Us Saturated in These Trying Times

Raise a glass to the bottle shops, tasting rooms, and corner stores, with everything from hot new discoveries to “easy drinkers that can ease our reality.”

By Margaret Seiler, Julia Silverman, and Conner Reed October 3, 2020

From top left: Fullerton Five FACES Pinot Noir, Civic Winery Pinot Gris, Apolloni Nebbiolo Rosé, Division Wine L’Orange, Rezabal Txakolina, Dila-O Rkatsiteli-Mtsvane, Loop de Loop Dry Riesling, Vinous Obscura Blaü-Ökör Hungarian Red

Image: Michael Novak

Loop de Loop Dry Riesling, $21

Matt Hensel, co-owner of 45th Parallel (8527 N Lombard St, 45thparallelwines.com), says his St. Johns regulars have asked what to buy to support not just the shop, but local winemakers, too. One standby rec is Loop de Loop, from Oregon wine vet Julia Bailey Gulstine, who “right now, I think, is making some of the best wines for the money in Oregon,” Hensel says. “I have a hard time keeping her wines on the shelf.” Try her Romeo Red, one of her “fun, quirky” white blends, or an expectation-defying dry Riesling. —MS

Civic Winery Pinot Gris, $25

At Division Wines (3564 SE Division St, divisionwines.com), Megan Comeau says customers are split between those challenging wines they can “nerd out over” and “easy drinkers that ease our reality.” She recommends any of the rosés from Jackalope Wine Cellars and Loop de Loop, both made at the nearby SE Wine Collective, or orange wines from Eugene’s Civic Winery, all priced in the mid-20s—“a little on the higher end, but the quality is right on,” says Comeau. —JS

Dila-O Rkatsiteli-Mtsvane, $19 

Alex Sparks, wine buyer at P’s & Q’s Market in Woodlawn (1301 NE Dekum St, psandqsmarket.com), says vino sales have skyrocketed since the pandemic lockdown took hold. “People are willing to get so much,” she says. One of her most popular offerings is this orange wine from the Republic of Georgia: a 50–50 blend of its namesake grapes, fermented in subterranean clay jars with a month of skin contact. —CR 

Fullerton Five FACES Pinot Noir, $36 

When Fullerton leased the city parking spots in front of its Slabtown tasting room (1966 NW Pettygrove St, fullertonwines.com), the giant red umbrellas over the new outdoor seating got neighbors’ attention. “All these new people came by, like, ‘What is this place?’” says Brandon Jacobs, who was happy to introduce them to Five FACES, a pinot noir blending grapes from five vineyards (and the first letters of the names of five Fullerton family members). “It captures the vintage of what happens in the Willamette Valley each year,” he says. —MS

Rezabal Txakolina, $24

Portlanders are breaking for the avant-garde, says Prospect Bar & Bottle Shop owner Laurent Albouze (1611 NE Killingsworth St, prospectbottleshop.com). “Natural and effervescent wines are being washed down at light speed,” he notes. One of Albouze’s favorites is this txakolina—an ultra-dry white from Rezabal, a winery situated near the French-Spanish border in Basque Country. —CR

Apolloni Nebbiolo Rosé, $18

Rosé may whisper summer, but Jill Crecraft, the owner of Sip d’Vine in Multnomah Village (7829 SW Capitol Highway, sipdvine.com), says her customers seek it out all year long. She says the 2019 rosé has notes of “rhubarb and lime with a kiss of cream in the mouth and a nice wildflower finish. A complete package of yum.” —JS

Division Wine L’Orange, $25

Open 35 years, Woodstock Wine and Deli (4030 SE Woodstock Blvd, facebook.com/WoodstockWineDeli) has a pinot noir–loving customer base that’s aged with the shop. But lately second-generation owner Gregg Fujino has been fielding questions about orange wine from a younger set, who seem interested in its old techniques and often natural practices. Staffer Katie Buzbee has another theory: they saw it on TV, where it’s cropped up on cooking shows and Dead to Me. At Woodstock, they can pick from Italy’s Ramoro to Portland’s Division Winemaking to Dundee’s Cameron. —MS

Vinous Obscura Blaü-Ökör Hungarian Red, $26

At shoebox-size Pairings Portland (455 NE 24th Ave, pairingsportland.com), which has billed itself as “Portland’s Weirdest Wine Shop and Bar,” owner Jeff Weissler is a big fan of this 2019 bottle from local natural winemaker Jeff Vejr of Golden Cluster. “It is under 10 percent alcohol, which is unusual for a red wine,” Weissler says. “That is actually a good thing, because we don’t want to give up our volume, because we love drinking right now.”

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